- Photos: Ikea
Katarzyna Broniarek is the Country Communication Manager for Ikea Retail in Poland. She tells us about the thinking behind the Home of Tomorrow, and how it fits into the company’s wider sustainability concept.
What’s the most exciting thing about the Home of Tomorrow?
The starting point for the functional design of the space was the metabolism of the whole area. Each room has a different purpose, but all harmonise perfectly. In one of the spaces, Home Farm, people can discover the secrets of sustainable farming, and then apply them in their own home. Vegetables and herbs, mushrooms, spirulina purifying the air, or extremely nutritious micro-leaves – these are just some of the crops visitors can observe every day. We cultivate these incredible plants using modern methods: aeroponic or aquaponic, i.e. without soil, with low water consumption, or using symbiosis of plants and fish. Everything is edible and healthy, fed with composted waste and coffee grounds from the kitchen. In the Home of Tomorrow nothing is wasted.
Does it show how the Ikea range will evolve?
From our research we know Poles would like to contribute and change their lifestyles, but often do not know how. We see our mission as supporting them in making that change. Sustainability shouldn’t be a luxury. Over 4,000 products from our range are made from recyclable or reused materials, or help people live more sustainably.
Globally we have a very clear direction and clear goals – we want Ikea to become “People & Planet Positive” by 2030. By becoming climate positive we mean reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the Ikea value chain emits. This means we’ll have to reduce our absolute emissions by at least 15% compared to 2016, while still growing the business of course. We’ve pledged to use only renewable or recycled materials in
products by 2030. At the same time, we want to offer services to help customers repair, reuse, resell or repurpose products. We also focus on materials, such as FSC-certified wood and sustainably sourced cotton.
We work long term for positive change, focusing on root causes and not only symptoms. The Ikea business set-up allows us to invest in things like new technologies, innovative materials, and ways of generating clean energy, as well as in social development through the value chain.
How has the Covid lockdown affected Ikea’s outlook?
It’s made us all think how important it is to have a more comfortable, beautiful, but also healthy and sustainable home, where activities should happen simultaneously – like working, parenting, cooking etc. But at the same time the economic slowdown will probably make some wallets shrink and we’ll be much more conscious about responsible and safe consumption. That’s why we think our stronger focus on affordability, accessibility and sustainability together with our home furnishing expertise will allow us to be more relevant than ever. We’ve had an exponential learning curve … We’re able now to offer many new services like click and collect in stores and opened up new pick-up points, but also had great developments on remote selling and planning as an option to still have human contact, expertise and confirmation in a remote way. We think of our business as omnichannel. Currently, customers expect various means of sale. That is why we invest in diversity without neglecting stationary stores, which will remain our core sales channel. They allow clients to try products and provide direct access to advisers, inspiration and full stock availability. Still, the pandemic has resulted in accelerated investments on solutions supporting online orders. We also want to improve our capabilities in the field of remote services – both by improving team qualifications and developing digital too.